Photo Credit: Pakistan Cricket Board
Azan Awais is the latest installment in Sialkot’s rich legacy of exciting cricket talent production. Azan is all set to feature in his maiden U19 World Cup for Pakistan U19 in South Africa and he’ll be the linchpin of the team’s batting unit during the tournament.
Azan recently finished as the second-leading run-scorer in ACC Men’s U19 Asia Cup 2023 with 222 runs in four games. The highlight of his career, according to him, has been the hundred against India in that tournament, where he anchored Pakistan’s chase with maturity and courage.
Talking to PCB Digital about his journey, Azan reminisced about the times when he fell in love with the game, “I started playing the game when I was just eight years old. My father took me to an academy for training. I had to stop playing for some time due to my studies but a visit to Sialkot’s Jinnah stadium reignited my hunger to play during school days. My father has sacrificed a lot for my growth as he lent time and attention and helped me excel.”
Azan played U13 Inter-Regional T20 Tournament 2017 for Sialkot U13, and returned in the same tournament as the leading run-scorer in the 2018 edition. His step up to the U16 level also yielded considerable success as he returned as the second leading run-scorer in the National U16 One Day Tournament 2019-20. In the subsequent edition of this tournament, he ended up as the third-leading run-scorer.
Azan has played nine one-day games for Pakistan U19 and will be banking on his experience of batting in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Australia and UAE in the upcoming U19 World Cup. He was part of the Pakistan Shaheens side that toured Australia last year. In the One-Day series against Bangladesh U19, he was the leading run-scorer accumulating 269 runs in five outings.
Azan said: “I follow Alastair Cook and Saeed Anwar as a left-handed batter. Cook was a run machine and he used to play marathon innings while Saeed bhai played delightful strokes.”
Shedding light on Pakistan U19’s preparation for the World Cup, he added, “The coaches have told us about the bounce in South African wickets and made us train in similar conditions during the camp. We have played scenario matches. Some of the net sessions have been intense. We are a united team and will look to lift the trophy for Pakistan.”